By Evan Belanger, Read the full BDN article here.
Aug. 24, 2015
Voting 6-1 on Monday, the City Council approved a resolution expressing support for an ongoing petition drive aimed at increasing the state’s minimum wage for the first time since 2009.
The Maine People’s Alliance is gathering signatures to force a citizen-initiated referendum on the November 2016 ballot after failing for years to push the item through in Augusta. “We’re not doing that because we have a deep love of direct democracy that overwhelms all else. We’re doing that because it is our only option at this point,” Mike Tipping, communications director for the MPA, told the City Council in July.
With councilors Joe Baldacci and Patricia Blanchette absent from Monday’s meeting, Councilor Gibran Graham cast the only dissenting vote, arguing that the council’s time would be better spent supporting that actual ballot initiative and not just the petition effort.He also said that passing a local minimum wage immediately would do more to support the MPA’s statewide effort. “I think no other support could be given that would be of greater consequence than showing that the minimum wage can be raised and needs to be raised earlier,” Graham said. Continue reading →
From an article in Maine Insights
A town hall to consider raising Bangor’s minimum wage will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, April 9th, to discuss a minimum wage increase for Mainers.
A municipal ordinance has been proposed by City Councilor Joseph M. Baldacci to set the city’s minimum wage next year to $8.25 an hour.
“We need to focus on the issue and raise public awareness that the state minimum wage hasn’t been increased in the past six years. This is a way to get started and jump-start the conversation,” said Baldacci.
The forum will feature guest speakers, and will allow local residents and business people to share their viewpoints about the issue.
“Having a real and substantial conversation about raising the minimum wage is a part of a necessary discussion we need to have about raising people’s incomes in general,” said Baldacci.
Special guests will include Donato Tramuto of Ogunquit, Maine businessman and global healthcare activist; former Maine Gov. John Baldacci; Jim Wellehan, Auburn, owner of Lamey Wellehan Shoes, a statewide business; and Todd Gabe, Orono, University of Maine professor of economics. Also attending will other state and local legislators. The forum is free and open to the public.
• Maine’s Minimum Wage Town Hall, 5:30-7 p.m.
• Thursday, April 9, Abraham Lincoln School, 45 Forest Ave. Bangor, Maine
• Guest speakers with question-and-answer period following
• Refreshments will be served
• Free and open to the public
Earlier this year, Councilor Baldacci proposed a draft ordinance to raise the Bangor minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, effective Jan. 1, 2016, with additional increases to $9 an hour by 2017 and $9.75 an hour by 2018. Under his proposal, the citywide minimum wage thereafter would increase each year in conjunction with the previous year’s consumer price index.
Baldacci acknowledged that other city councilors and some Bangor businesspeople have raised concerns about the draft ordinance. He said he organized the public forum “so we can have a discussion that is more fact-based than emotion-based.”
The city councilor pointed out that the guest speakers will provide informative perspectives on the issue.
• Tramuto is CEO and chairman of Physicians Interactive, a Boston-based interactive healthcare company, and a 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope laureate, He is expected to discuss how health care and low wages form basic middle-class economic issues that need to be addressed.
• Former Governor John Baldacci will speak about the importance of raising the minimum wage for economic growth. He was the last Governor to raise Maine’s minimum wage in 2009.
• Wellehan, who owns and operates the highly successful shoe store business in six Maine locations, will speak as a business owner on the advantages of increasing the minimum wage. Founded in 1914, Lamey Wellehan was named Retailer of the Year in 2011 by B.S.T.A., the New England trade group of footwear suppliers.
• Garrett Martin, the executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, will speak first to give everyone an over view of the minimum wage’s history and why increasing it should spur an increase in all wages.
• Gabe, professor at the UM School of Economics, will speak about his research concerning the minimum wage and its impact. His academic research areas are regional and community economic development and public finance.
• Jane Searles, from Women Work and Community, will speak about how critically important raising the minimum wage is for women, particularly single working mothers.
The event will be recorded by Don Cookson, WZON radio host, and be available after the event. Refreshments are being provided by Frank’s Bakery and Gosselin’s Bakery, both of Bangor.
Baldacci’s proposal comes as city councils in Portland, South Portland and Augusta also are discussing raising the local minimum wage. As of 2015, workers in 20 states and the District of Columbia saw increases in local minimum wage requirements. At least 10 city and county governments across the U.S. have raised their minimum-wage requirements during the past two years including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont in the New England region.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill in 2013 that would have increased the state’s minimum wage this year to $9 an hour. The current state minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.
“This issue needs to be taken seriously,” said Baldacci. “It needs to happen at the local and state level. We need to hear from the people in our community about this.”
City Councilor Joe Baldacci has proposed a municipal ordinance to increase Bangor’s minimum wage. In order to widen the discussion the Councilor is hosting a town hall to hear from people and for speakers to present their viewpoints on increasing the minimum wage. It will be held at the Abraham Lincoln School, 45 Forest Avenue in Bangor, Maine, Thursday April 9, 2015. The program runs from 5:30 -7p.m.
“I am calling attention to the minimum wage because it is about basic economic fairness. Over a service of 4 terms on the Bangor City Council, including a term as Mayor, I have strongly and actively supported tens of millions – if not hundreds million dollars’ of new commercial development and jobs throughout this great City that have benefited Bangor and throughout our whole region of Eastern and Northern Maine.
“Having a real and substantial conversation about raising the minimum wage is a part of a necessary discussion we need to have about raising people’s incomes in general,” said Councilor Joe Baldacci.
Donato Tramuto, global healthcare activist, Maine businessman, philanthropist, and 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope laureate, will speak at the forum. Donato will tie in health care and the economics of low wages as basic middle class economic issues that we all as a state and as a country need to address.
Jim Wellehan, of Auburn, and owner of Lamey Wellehan Shoes has also graciously agreed to speak at the Minimum Wage Town Hall. As a businesses owner, he will point to the advantages of increasing the minimum wage.
Todd Gabe, University of Maine Economics Professor will speak about his research concerning the minimum wage and its impact on the economy.
A question and answer session will follow the presentations.
Food and refreshments from both Franks Bakery and Gosselin’s Bakery will be available. Visit the Town Hall Facebook page: HERE
BANGOR, Maine — With the state in its fifth year without a minimum-wage increase, a member of the Bangor City Council is proposing a local raise for workers at the bottom of the pay scale to $8.25 per hour next year.
The proposal comes as city councils in Portland, South Portland and Augusta discuss similar measures to make local employers pay more than the statewide minimum of $7.50 per hour.
Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci released this week a draft ordinance that would hike the minimum wage in Bangor to $8.25 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2016. It would provide further increases to $9 per hour in 2017 and to $9.75 per hour in 2018.
Beginning in 2019, the minimum wage citywide would increase annually to reflect the prior year’s consumer price index, a measure of inflation.
Baldacci, brother to former Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, said he is proposing the change because Maine’s lowest paid workers have gone nearly six years without a pay increase and because income levels for residents “have been stagnant for over a decade.”
Baldacci said he is tentatively seeking a public forum in March or April to discuss the issue. While the location is undetermined, he said he is planning for a large venue to maximize public access and input.
“It really needs to be a statewide if not a national conversation on raising the minimum wage,” he said. “I’m trying to move it up another level by putting forward elements of an actual ordinance.” Continue reading →
“One out four workers in the Second District – almost 60,000 workers- are paid the minimum wage- one of the highest proportions in the country. We need a statewide referendum to increase the state minimum wage for everybody,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.
The following article, which quoted Councilor Baldacci, appeared in Maine Insights: Twenty states to raise minimum wage on Jan. 1 but not Maine thanks to LePage by Ramona du Houx
The minimum wage will rise in 20 states and the District of Columbia on January 1, 2015 as laws and automatic adjustments are made official with the start of the New Year. That means twenty-nine states will have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25, including Maine.
When President Barak Obama was reelected he put out a call for the federal minimum wage to be increased to $10.10 an hour and for private companies to take the initiative and raise wages independently. Soon after Obama put through executive orders so federal workers got that raise. His actions spurred companies, legislatures and governors to take similar actions. Continue reading →